Book Review: Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews

Posted May 4, 2022 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 4 Comments

Book Review: Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews

I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Suspense
Published by Ace Books on September 28, 2010
Pages: 434
Format: eBook
Source: my own shelves

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Also by this author: Burn For Me, Magic Shifts, Burn for Me, Magic Binds, White Hot, Wildfire, Iron and Magic, Magic Triumphs, Magic Bites , Magic Burns, Magic Strikes , Magic Bleeds, Magic Slays , Gunmetal Magic, "Gerard Demille and Helen Meet", "Diamond Fire", Magic Rises , Magic Breaks, Magic Shifts , Magic Binds , Magic Triumphs, "Sweep with Me", Clean Sweep, Sweep in Peace, "Questing Beast", "A Mere Formality", Blood Heir, "The King of Fire", Blood Heir , Sapphire Flames, "A Misunderstanding", Emerald Blaze, "The Cool Aunt", One Fell Sweep, Burn for Me , Sweep of the Blade, White Hot , "Silent Blade", Fated Blades, On the Edge, "George and Jack in School"

Second in The Edge suspenseful paranormal romance series and revolving around the lawless, independent inhabitants of an in-between territory. The focus is on William Wolf and Cerise Mar. It’s been two years since On the Edge, 1.

My Take

Bayou Moon carries on with one of the characters from On the Edge, William Wolf, a wolf shapeshifter. Court-martialed form the Adrianglian army for being too human, adopted by a duke out for revenge, William finally escapes everyone and lives happily in his trailer in the Edge with his beer and flatscreen television until the Spider and the Mirror both reach out to him through his one weakness.

It’s so sad that William is so lonely and his reasons for playing with his toys is even sadder. People can be such jerks. His attitude about women is a conflict due to his being a changeling and how he was raised, and it does create a fascinating friction between him and Cerise. Those horrors cause William to be such a little boy sometimes. Andrews did a brilliant job of making me want to cry in that scene where William meets Urow. Family. Then William’s “assessment” of love . . . awww, it was so sweet.

All that miscommunication . . . aided by Andrews using third person global subjective point-of-view, primarily from William’s and Cerise’s perspectives as well as others. Lol, it cracks me up about one of Kaldar’s family jobs. It just, I mean, I have a hard time imagining him as a marriage broker.

Cerise is intense. She’s been struggling to keep her family, well, okay, and her love life has gone for naught. It makes her encounter with the shy William engaging. You will crack up as you read of the aspects that attract each one to the other, lol.

It’s taking Cerise awhile to figure out William, which keeps the frustration and laughter flowing. She does have big dreams . . . and no idea how to achieve even a quarter of them. And it’s the contrast between Cerise and Richard that makes William realize why Cerise is in charge. It’s his military background and his changeling nature that helps him understand Gaston as well.

It’s a cute set-up for later in the book (and the series) when William thinks over one of Jack’s issues:

“Jack killed himself a deer and left the bloody thing on the dining room table, because he’s a cat and he thinks they’re lousy hunters. . . . He’s trying to feed them, and they don’t get it.”

There are some interesting rules about feuds in the Mire.

There are also some interesting nuggets of wisdom handed out in the Mire:

“That was one of the first lessons her grandmother had taught her: Take care of your hands. You need them to hold your blade.”

It’s that feud and the assassinations that are at the heart of the inciting incident. And it’s hideous when we first encounter Genevieve and the horrors she’s experiencing.

Spider is so incredibly hideous as a man. Well, what’s left of being human, and I’m not just talking physical changes.

“Perhaps he could kill something during his search for Lavern’s corpse. He was so mercilessly bored.”

Oh, man, that Emel is a crack-up and very clever at the end.

There are plenty of back stories about William’s, Cerise’s, Erian’s, and Spider’s pasts. It’s also a tale of growing up, as Cerise realizes how good she’d had it.

I do wish Andrews had spilled the beans on what started that feud between the Mars and the Sheerlies. She does, OMIGOD, spill the beans about the Dubois grandparents. Whoa, does that ever explain a lot. Just. Plain. Frightening.

Oh, lordy! Oh, lololol, that meeting and the conversation between Rose and Cerise. Oh yeah, mama!

Yep, yep, if you’re into action and crazy characters, you’ll love Bayou Moon. If you don’t, well, you ain’t right, *grin*.

A most unexpected ending with promise of yet more adventures for all.

The Story

Reputation is everything in the Mire, even if Cerise Mar and her unruly clan are cash poor if land rich. Then her parents vanish, and her clan’s long-time rivals are suspect number one.

But all is not as it seems. Two nations of the Weird are waging a cold war fought by feint and espionage, and their conflict is about to spill over into the Edge — and Cerise’s life. William, a changeling soldier who left behind the politics of the Weird, has been forced back into service to track down a rival nation’s spymaster.

When William’s and Cerise’s missions lead them to cross paths, sparks fly — but they’ll have to work together if they want to succeed…and survive.

The Characters

William Wolf, a.k.a. Lord Leather Pants or Lord Bill or Lord Sandine, is a changeling, yep, he turns into a wolf. Court-martialed for being compassionate, he now works installing floors in the Broken. He had been adopted by Lord Casshorn Eratres Sandine, Declan’s uncle, in (On the Edge).

The Edge

The Mire is a swamp where the Mars live in their house, the Rathole. They’re known as the Rats for how mean they are and how poor they are. Cerise Mar is the oldest of the profligate Gustave and Genevieve‘s children, and her gift is to flash white along her sword blade, the path of the lightning blade. The eleven-year-old Sophie is her traumatized sister who now wants to be called Lark.

The dignified Richard is Cerise’s oldest cousin; the grifting Kaldar has a gift for luck; and, Erian are brothers and cousins to Cerise; Alain Mar, the oldest of Grandmother Az’s seven children, had been their father. Michelle, another of Grandmother Az’s children, has a daughter, Emily, who brims with magic.

Grandmother Az, a.k.a. Meemaw, knows everything and is powerful; Henri (from France) had been Grandmother’s husband. Adrian is fifteen and Derril is his fourteen-year-old sidekick. Aunt Karen appears to be in charge of the stables. Mikita and Ignata (appears to be the Mars medic) are the children of the scientifically minded Aunt Petunia, a.k.a. Aunt Pete; Uncle Jean built Pete a lab. Joanna is Pete’s cousin, and her husband, Bobby, left her. Uncle Hugh lives in the Broken; he’s a changeling, a wolf. Uncle Ben. Adriana. Andre is sharpening his machete. Catherine has a very specific magic and is great at crocheting. Aunt Murid snuck out to join the military. Uncle Rufus. Urow is another cousin who’s a great rolphie driver; he’s half thaos (Aunt Alina did like to have fun) and married to the prideful Clara. They have four children: Mart, Ry, Gaston, and baby Sydney. Uncle Peter. Antoine. Emel is another cousin, the Red Necromancer. Anya was the Mar who ran the stinker to the house. Celeste had been a second cousin. Efrenia had married an arsonist. Jake‘s wife is a kleptomaniac. Nellie is an escapist rolpie, a seal-like being who are harnessed to pull boats. Cough is the alpha dog.

Sene Manor had belonged to the famous Vernard and Vienna Dubois, the Mars’ maternal grandparents’ home.

The Sheerlies are another Mire family, just as mean but richer than the Mars, and they’re in a deadly feud with the Mars. Kaitlin is the overbearing mother who rules them all. Lagar is the oldest with a secret pash for Cerise. Peva is the middle brother and obsessed with Wasp, his crossbow. Arig is the youngest and an idiot. They hire mercenaries: Baxter is a good shot; Kent, a.k.a. Machete, was another one of the ambushers; Chad; Brent; Chrisum; and, the widow Emilia Cook, who is not impressed. They’ve hired Malina Williams, a practicing jurist in New Avignon. Big mistake.

Cobbler is an old wino. The Great Bayou Swap Meet is a flea market in Verite in Louisiana. Vern runs a ferry service, of sorts. An ervaug is a really big alligator. Sicktree is where Edgar Wallace has a shop, Zeke’s Leathers, where he also serves as a contact point for the Mirror. In the Mire, Legion families are ancient with old magic. Bob Vey is a scumbag. Louise Dalton has standards. The thoas are the moon people, the swamp elders, the mud crawlers, take your pick. Dobe is the judge of the Edge District Court in Angel Roost, the county seat of Angel; Clyde is the bailiff; and, Chuckles is Clyde’s pet bobcat. Georgina Wallace was a slut engaged to Tom Rook. Cline Rook, Tom’s brother, survived. That sneak Tobias had meant to marry Cerise. The spirits in the swamp used to be Gods, the Old Gods. Gospo Adir is the spirit of life and death. Keep away from any eels with a crimson skull and gaping circles for eyes, as they belong to the necromancers of Gospo Adir. Vodar Adir is the spirit of water. Raste Adir is the spirit of plants.

In the Weird

Declan Camarine, the Earl of Camarine and the Marshal of the Southern Provinces, a blueblood, is married to Rose Drayton and adopted her two brothers: George, a necromancer, and Jack, a lynx changeling. He’s also been a friend of William’s. Declan’s mother is a fierce woman; she’s also the Duchess of the Southern Provinces.

Erwin is Nancy Verai‘s second-in-command and a combination sniper flasher. Nancy is in charge of the Mirror, the Adrianglian Secret Service. The Red Legion does black ops and is the Adrianglian weapon of last resort.

Hawks Academy in Adrianglia is where changelings were sent. A nightmare of a place for kids, where they’re raised to obey and kill on command.

The Dukedom of Louisiana is . . .
. . . Adrianglia’s enemy that kills changelings outright — a nasty bit of hypocrisy considering what the government does to its Hand agents, spies twisted by magic and powerful.

Spider, a.k.a. Sebastian Olivier Lafayette, Chevalier, Comte de Belidor, is a Gaulish blueblood whose father helped ensure his health. It’s his grandfather, Alain de Belidor, who twisted his mind. John is the greedy mage who performs plant fusion. The Borrower’s Tree is what John uses to fuse people with plants. Posad is the hunch-backed gardener — he’s got a beehive inside his hump. Ruh is Spider’s tracker. The unstable Lavern is one of their strongest hunters. The Goldmint seems to be a link between an agent and it. Thibaud didn’t report in. The red-skinned Veisan, a.k.a. Gabrielle, can barely stop killing. Karmash Aule is Spider’s second-in-command and a breaker. Vur and Embelys will be watchers. Seth is a tentacled monstrosity.

Kasis is . . .
. . . a fortress, neutral between Adrianglia and Louisiana, ruled by Antoine de Kasis, the Earl of Kasis.

Nick is a traveling trader. Alphas are some kind of dangerous group in the Broken. The tlatoke had been the previous inhabitants of the Weird — the Empire of the Sun Serpent, and it’s another fascinating history that scares me.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a range of greens creating the swamp with its skyline of trees in the background with the black-haired Cerise in tank top and black jeans leaning against a tree, ready to swipe with her flash-tinged sword. On the right is an enlarged image of a bare-chested William looking up and left, a leather strap holding his bolts on his back. At the very top is an info blurb in white. The author’s name is below it in a pale yellow. Starting at William’s shoulder is a testimonial in white. Below Cerise’s knees is the series info and title in white.

I have no idea where the title is from, unless it’s the amount of time spent under the Bayou Moon.

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